Gender Specific Peer Groups and Choice at 16
The UK government’s aim of achieving a 50% staying on rate in higher education at the age of 16 might not be achievable because it is demandconstrained: not all students want to stay on in education at 16. Peer groups are known to be stronger for boys than for girls and often influence choice at 16. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of gender-specific peer groups on students’ intentions and realisations to stay-on into post-compulsory education at the age of 16. The results suggest that boys’ intentions and realisations are influenced by their male peers. However, girls’ intentions are influenced by their whole peer group while their realisations are influenced by their female peer group. Policy targeted to increase participation rates should recognise these gender differences.
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